Board of Deputies details ‘deeply irresponsible journalism’ in complaint about BBC coverage of antisemitic incident

The Board of Deputies has made an official complaint to the BBC about its coverage of an antisemitic incident in London’s Oxford Street in which Jewish teenagers on a bus were subjected to abuse, describing it as “deeply irresponsible journalism”.

The letter from Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl – addressed to BBC Director General Tim Davie, Chairman Richard Sharp and Director of News and Current Affairs Fran Unsworth – refers to “harmful framings and allegations that we condemn in the strongest possible terms”.

Marie writes: “Your report of the incident refers to the obvious antisemitic acts as mere “allegations” while reporting an unsubstantiated allegation of ‘racial slurs about Muslims’ as fact.”

She adds that the allegations made against the Jewish victims are wholly without substance or merit. “We investigated every second of footage and we contend that the BBC is mischaracterising a Hebrew cry for help by a distressed Jewish man as a slur in English. We have evidenced this with our own re-enactment of the precise phrasing, cadence, and context of the audio segment in dispute and are fully convinced that the BBC has gotten this spectacularly wrong. Dangerously so. The victims of antisemitic abuse are now being smeared as racists and therefore somehow less deserving of sympathy or, in the worst case, deserving of the abuse they received. This is deeply irresponsible journalism.”

You can read the full letter here.

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